HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — At the Pennsylvania Farm Show on Monday morning, Pennsylvania’s Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced that $1.5 million will be awarded to the Farm to Schools and Agriculture and Youth Education Programs.

Redding says this investment is needed for the future of Pennsylvania’s keystone industry.

“All of that is this connection of what we have done with the farm bill and the growth of that with the common goals we mentioned of making sure we got a new generation who is excited about this industry and who believes in both its heritage, but also the progress we see in its future,” said Redding.

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With this funding, West Prairie School District will partner with LEAF, an organization dedicated to educating youth leaders through meaningful work in the food system by expressing the importance of agriculture in the community and schools.

“A community that values agriculture we are fortunate to engage our students in learning science authentically, in many ways including lessons made possible by the Farm to School grant and the partnership with LEAF,” said Assistant Superintendent Michelle Dubaich.

The funding will help the Agriscience Adventures project teach 169 fourth-grade students about the importance of agriculture. The program ends with a visit to the LEAF farm for firsthand learning opportunities.

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“And our belief is that you cannot start soon enough right, you need to make sure that folks are thinking about ‘ag’ as a place of meaningful employment to see the power of working for an industry that is at the intersection of some of the most important issues of our time environment and food,” said Redding.

Various counties, including Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry, and York, received funding.